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Improve nutrient availability by feeding soil microbes

01/09/2020

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An internationally trialled liquid carbon product that feeds soil microbes is helping growers to support nutrient-hungry crops and improve the efficiency of applied fertilisers.

L-CBF BOOST™ contains filtered cane molasses and nutrients including nitrogen, potash and sulphur, and can be applied to wide range of row crops.

It works by acting as a food source for soil microbes and fungi, enabling them to increase in population. With greater numbers, these then improve the availability of key nutrients; in turn boosting root mass, crop yield and overall soil and plant health.

Available in the UK from Agrovista, Head of Soil Health Chris Martin, said: “Soil microbes need to be fed to survive and multiply, but numbers have declined because of excessive tillage and pesticide applications. 

“As a result, crops have required even greater levels of artificial fertilisers and chemicals, which has further damaged these vital microbes.

“By applying the liquid carbon found in L-CBF BOOST, we mimic the work of a crop’s root exudates. This is because root exudates feed the rhizosphere microbes and fungi naturally, by releasing carbon compounds.

“These microbes then play a really important job for us – naturally decomposing organic matter, cycling nutrients and fertilising the soil.”

Maize trials conducted in Norfolk in 2019 have shown that when L-CBF BOOST was applied with a bacterial treatment on soil with low organic matter content, a 9.8% yield increase was achieved. In this instance, L-CBF BOOST is providing the vital food that applied bacteria require. 

In contrast, when applied to soils with existing high organic matter content, used alone it resulted in an 8.2% yield increase. This 2019 trial in Wiltshire demonstrates how the product effectively improves the activity of existing soil microbes.

L-CBF BOOST has also been shown to be a valuable tool in supporting long-term organic matter building, including cover crop conversion. 

Chris added: “Our trial work at Project Lamport has shown the benefits that cover crops can have on overall soil health and biology, enabling us to improve blackgrass control and successfully grow spring cereals on heavy land. 

“L-CBF BOOST further contributes to that research – a great tool that will help growers to make the most of cover crops in a sustainable way.”

L-CBF BOOST is part of the Agrovista Innovation Range and manufactured by QLF-Agronomy. For more information visit www.agrovista.co.uk/innovation